Soy Canada comments on the EU’s proposal to allow member states to reject imports of approved biotechnology crops

Posted on: June 10, 2015

Soy Canada expressed its disappointment today in the European Commission’s proposal to allow individual member states to prohibit the import and use of food and feed derived from biotechnology that have been approved on the basis of rigorous scientific assessment.

“The EU’s proposal is a major step away from the predictable, trade facilitative environment that Canada and Europe have committed to through the Canada – EU Free Trade agreement,” said Jim Everson, Executive Director of Soy Canada, “and a rejection of the principle of regulatory decision making based on sound science.”

On Wednesday, the EU Commission announced the outcome of a review of its decision-making process for authorizing imports of food, food ingredients and feed produced using genetic modification. Currently, authorization applies to all member states following a rigorous safety assessment conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), consistent with agreed international (CODEX) guidelines. In recent years, this process has resulted in significant delays in approvals but once approvals are granted, they apply to the entire European Community. Under the Commission’s new proposal, EFSA will still conduct science-based reviews but individual member states would be allowed to ignore the results and prohibit imports.

“We are concerned that this will create uncertainty and disrupt trade for EU customers,” said Mark Huston, Chair of Soy Canada and an Ontario soybean producer. “We urge the European Council and Parliament to maintain Europe’s single market, uphold its WTO obligations and regulate based on sound scientific principles.”

Soy Canada is the national commodity association representing the full soybean value chain in Canada including farmers, exporters, processors and seed companies. Canadian farmers produced 6.04 million tonnes of soybeans in 2014 earning $2.4 billion in farm cash receipts; the 3rd most valuable crop. Canada exported over 1.2 million metric tonnes of soybeans to the European Community in 2014.

For more information, contact:
Jim Everson
Executive Director, Soy Canada